Lewis Cass impressed in Bolton with two assists but it was defeat in our first group game of the Papa John’s Trophy.
The opening game of our Papa John’s Trophy campaign started in Bolton as we took on the Sky Bet League One outfit with seven changes made. David Amoo had the first chance of the game on three minutes, some neat football between him and Tom Conlon inside the area allowed him to get a shot off but it was saved well by Matt Gilks.
Our last trip to the University of Bolton Stadium was a memorable one where the Valiants took all three points in a 6-3 win. Doyle scored for the hosts that day and he was in again as he made a great run through our defence but his shot was poor from inside the area with the ball rolling wide after seven minutes.
The Irishman kept his place from the weekend when Bolton were defeated by Cambridge. He failed to score that day but in the 29th minute he opened the scoring when Ryan Johnson was dispossessed and Lloyd Isgrove played a simple pass to Doyle who placed the ball home.
But just six minutes later we had our equaliser thanks to the skipper. James Gibbons launched a pass to Lewis Cass out wide to the right who put a drilled ball into the area which found Conlon unmarked and he coolly slotted it away past Gilks.
We flipped the game on its head on 43 minutes as Amoo put us in front. A brilliant ball from Cass for his second assist of the game got Amoo in one-on-one with Gilks whose shot had too much power on it for the veteran goalkeeper to stop. Two minutes later Amoo had a chance to put us further ahead but his effort from close range was too close to Gilks who parried it away.
The second half started with the Valiants on top and we had the first chance four minutes after the restart. Good pressure from Devante Rodney and he got on the ball inside the area but his shot from 8-yards out was scuffed wide of the goal.
On the 54th minute the hosts drew level from a Nathan Delfouneso header. Isgrove put a ball into the area from the right and the slightest of flicks from Delfouneso put the ball past Aiden Stone. Eight minutes later and Bolton were pushing for the lead. Elias Kachunga’s effort from 20-yards out stung the palms of Stone but he managed to parry it away well.
Isgrove almost put the hosts ahead on 66 minutes from a free-kick 20-yards out but it bounced back off the post. Five minutes later Andrew Tutte tried his luck from distance but his effort ended up nowhere near the goal. Substitute David Worrall tried to break the tie but his scissor-kick volley hit the side netting on 75 minutes from inside the area.
Two minutes later and Bolton got back in front. Dapo Afolayan was allowed to turn on the edge of the area and got a shot off which clipped the post on its way into the net. Ben Garrity had a chance one minute from time but his curled effort from 25-yards went over the bar. A few corners for the Valiants in stoppage time but the score remained 3-2.
Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Santos, Delfouneso, Doyle (67’ Afolayan), Tutte, Brockbank, Isgrove (67’ Sarcevic), Kachunga (91’ Henry), Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Subs not used: Dixon, Johnston, Senior, Conway
Port Vale: Stone, Gibbons (55’ Worrall), Smith, Garrity, Conlon (55’ Taylor), Benning, Johnson, Amoo (68’ Lloyd), Rodney, Pett, Cass
Subs not used: Covolan, Martin, Jones, Wilson